By Patrick Simmsgeiger, Founder of DWI
The individuality of streams and lakes makes maintenance far more complicated than simple cause and effect. Out of ten of your property’s water features, two might need nothing, three might be very tough to manage, and five might need simple preventative measures. It’s the tough ones that motivate homeowner associations and property managers to seek a specialist.
Properties can treat smaller features like swimming pools if they have money to burn, natural solutions can be excluded in favor of chemicals or equipment-based ones (like filters). . . or, a professional who understands how to balance natural solutions with artificial measures can be hired.
There are all kinds of tools, some work as promised, but none are a solution by itself. The best approach is to start with the idea of restoring a natural balance by providing adequate circulation, managing nutrient levels, ensuring adequate aeration, establishing a proper balance of fish species, and adjusting suspended solids and organic content with equipment and resitered chemicals. The trick is not to create a new problem by overloading one side of the equation.
When your water feature gets hit with an unsightly pea-soup green appearance or starts to emit an odor, the answer won’t be a single fix-all. It will be a package of solutions working together to resolve the problem. Bottom line, an aquatic problem can’t be fixed by making one change and moving on.
When an HOA respects the value of water features, it follows they will then appreciate the concept of natural balance. However, you probably won’t want to go into the specifics of population percentages between forage and predator fish or may not appreciate the value of fish species that eat insect larvae.
At the same time, I can give you some hints as to the trouble caused by over watering highly fertilized landscape around streams and lakes and the positioning of trees near bodies of water (the debris from their leaves is a major source of nutrients in lakes and also a major source of trouble).
Keep in mind that much more of the earth is covered in water than land, yet we assume land is the only thing that counts. Let me suggest, respectfully, that there is a whole new world out there that matters a great deal to us. We just need to give it the respect it is due. That’s what a few of us do every day. We aren’t cleaning pools, we are managing a delicate balance between natural aquatic organisms and the aesthetic appearance of highly visible bodies of water within you properties. That’s our speciality. Don’t assume that one thing can resolve all problems, but be encouraged, you can gave it all if you delegate lake management to a knowledgable person.